News and Events

In-Person and Remote Advising Available

The Department of Linguistics will be open most days, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Please see our Faculty and Staff page for office hours and contact information.

Linguistics Tutoring

Drop-in linguistics tutoring will continue in fall of 2023.

Now Hiring: Assistant Professor

A neon sign that says, "We are hiring! Join our team."
Applications due by Oct. 23, 2023

The Department of Linguistics at Western Washington University is inviting applications for a tenure-track position at the rank of Assistant Professor, beginning September 2024.

Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion in Linguistics

People from various countries saying "hello" in different languages.

In our courses here at Western, we are interested in the ways in which the study of language can provide the tools, the analytical skills, and the historical and cultural context to better understand the ways in which language is used to separate, segregate, and discriminate.  

Read our Racial Justice Statement

Different colored word bubbles

It’s important to us that our department is not only a welcoming place for everyone, intolerant of discrimination, but that we are actively working to dismantle power structures that serve to discriminate against underrepresented populations.

Welcome Prospective and Incoming Students

It’s the best possible combination of fields – math, cognitive science, formal logic, anthropology, etc. It’s impossible to get bored and there’s always something to learn.

WWU faculty and students at the 2020 LSA Conference

Western's Department of Linguistics can lead students not only to find interesting and engaging careers and jobs but also to give back to their communities in important ways. Our alumni are teaching, creating, writing, analyzing, and serving in a vast array of careers and civic engagement.

We now have a cohort of about 170 students, and an eager and active Associated Students Linguistics Club. Faculty from several departments contribute to our department, including from Modern and Classical Languages, Anthropology, and Computer Science.

Student Spotlight

We want to hear from you. If you have news to share, email us at linguistics@wwu.edu or call us at 360-650-3914.

Royce Gibson

Royce Gibson is a consummate scholar. Faculty comment that he is “academically brilliant,” “a fantastic researcher,” “kind,” and “modest” He is extremely enthusiastic, and always challenges himself. Royce participates above and beyond; he is very eager to learn and takes course assignments and projects to the next step. In addition to being a “true scholar”, a term several faculty used to describe Royce, he is also an intuitive teacher. Many faculty note that Royce contributes to a collaborative learning environment. “He makes great observations and shares them with the class,” several note, but in an unassuming and very helpful way. He is a simply superb student with a depth and breadth of knowledge and a sincere desire to keep learning.

Royce Gibson
2022-2023 Department of Linguistics Outstanding Graduating Senior

Fulbright U.S. Award Recipients

Congratulations to WWU Linguistics Alums Nathan Bucker (Germany) and Molly DeLeo (Germany)

2022-2023 Department of Linguistics Exceptional Student Awardees

Abigail Landaverde - Glory Busic - Carlisle Van Leuven

2022-2023 Exceptional Student in Spanish-Linguistics Awardee

Liam Pedersen

2023-2024 Denham Family Linguistics Student Scholarship Awardee

Rosie O’Malley

2023-2024 Shaw Gynan Memorial Scholarship Awardee

Gretchen Gaspers

2023-2024 Linguistics Student Scholarship Awardees

Ilsa O’Rollins - Red Sheets

Linguistics Department Scholars Week Presenters 2023

Mae Bash

  • “Mauwake Focus Markers”

Glory Busic

  • “Internalized Attitudes: African American English Speakers and African American English”

Margo Digiacinto

  • “Negation in Korean Syntax”

Royce Gibson

  • “Korean Modality”

Jack MacCleary

  • “Topic and Focus Phrases in Pite Saami”

Eden McGee

  • “Warao Determiners and Their Phrase Structure”

Meghan Murphy

  • “Simplifying the Syntactic Theory of Minimalism”

Ilsa O’Rollins

  • “Strategies of Disjunction in Ket”

Liam Pedersen

  • “Language and Identity in the Transgender Community of Tumblr”

Red Sheets

  • “Inventory of Modal Auxiliaries in Irish”

Thatch Trautmann - Co-author/language consultant J.R. Manríquez

  • “Nominalization in Numu (Northern Paiute)”

Faculty Spotlight

CMC Conversation hosts WWU Linguistics professor

headphones and a microphone

Edward Vajda was recently interviewed by by radio host Charles McCullough in a podcast titled "Comparing Siberian Ket language to Native American languages"

Edward Vajda co-authors new Yeniseian dictionary

"Comparative-Historical Yeniseian Dictionary Volume I (A-Ph)" by Edward J. Vajda & Heinrich Werner

Edward Vajda, who teaches linguistics, Russian, and Eurasian studies in Western’s College of Humanities and Social Sciences, and Heinrich Werner, the world's foremost expert on Yeniseic (Yeniseian) languages, sought to create a comparative-historical Yeniseian dictionary that is readily accessible to English speakers.

Western Linguistics professors publish 'Thinking like a Linguist'

Cover of "Thinking Like a Linguist"

Western Professor of Linguistics Kristin Denham and Assistant Professor of Linguistics Jordan Sandoval have published a new book that introduces the study of language for undergraduate and beginning graduate students who would like to further their linguistics studies.

Western Linguistics professor coauthored new book

Cover of book Mid-Holocene Language Connections between Asia and North America

Edward Vajda, professor of linguistics, Russian, and Eurasian Studies in Western’s College of Humanities and Social Sciences, along with his long-time colleague Michael Fortescue (professor emeritus, University of Copenhagen), have published a new book, Mid-Holocene Language Connections between Asia and North America.

Dr. Anne Lobeck

Dr. Anne Lobeck

Professor of Linguistics Dr. Anne Lobeck was inducted into the 2021 class of Fellows of the Linguistics Society of America.

Dr. Kristin Denham

Dr. Kristin Denham

Western's Dr. Kristin Denham chosen as the LSA's featured member for April 2020.

About the Linguistics Department

Linguistics is the scientific study of language. There are many ways to pursue the study of language, and as in any scientific discipline, researchers have varied goals, distinct questions to pose, and different directions of research.  Some linguists study the grammar, or rule system, of language, and others are more interested in the social factors, such as gender, age, ethnicity and other variables, that influence how we use language. Still others study how languages change over time, how children acquire language, or how our brains process and produce language. Communication in today’s complex society requires knowledge of the workings of language in general and of specific languages as well as their interrelationship with their respective cultures. All Linguistics majors are expected to acquire knowledge of the workings of language at various levels and demonstrate data analysis and other methodological techniques used to study language. A student of linguistics will thereby significantly advance their understanding of linguistic and cultural diversity and will have the tools to work in and across disciplines to explore questions related to language, and to therefore understand and advance what it means to be human.

Contact Information

Mailing Address

Linguistics Department
Western Washington University
516 High Street, MS 9190
Bellingham, WA 98225


Bond Hall 418

Phone: 360-650-3914

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